Today’s news: Trending business stories for January 10, 2024

The latest business news as it happens

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Today’s headlines

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Top story

TC Energy to discuss selling pipeline stake to Indigenous groups

TC Energy Corp. is planning to meet with representatives of Indigenous communities to discuss selling them a stake in its western Canadian natural gas pipeline network.

A meeting on the potential deal involving the Nova Gas Transmission Ltd. system will be held on Jan. 15, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named because the information is private.

The gathering will be in Edmonton and 72 communities from provinces including Alberta and British Columbia have been invited to attend, the people said, citing a letter the company sent last month.

“We want to create mutually beneficial partnerships with Indigenous communities. Potential ownership in our projects and assets means that Indigenous communities can share in Canada’s resource economy,” Calgary-based TC said in an emailed statement, without providing more details.

The NGTL system gathers and transports gas from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin in Alberta and British Columbia to both domestic and export markets. The company says the roughly 24,600-kilometre system handles about a tenth of North America’s natural gas supply.

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Read the full story here.

4:45 p.m.

Market close: TSX ekes out gain as U.S. stock markets also rise

stock chart

Canada’s main stock index eked out a gain Wednesday, weighed down by weakness in energy and metals, while U.S. markets rose.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 18.44 points at 20,989.42.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 170.57 points at 37,695.73. The S&P 500 index was up 26.95 points at 4,783.45, while the Nasdaq composite was up 111.94 points at 14,969.65.

The Canadian dollar traded for 74.73 cents U.S. compared with 74.68 cents U.S. on Tuesday.

The February crude oil contract was down 87 cents at US$71.37 per barrel and the February natural gas contract was down 15 cents at US$3.04 per mmBTU.

The February gold contract was down US$5.20 at US$2,027.80 an ounce and the March copper contract was up two cents at US$3.78 a pound.

The Canadian Press

4:24 p.m.

Class-action could see Apple pay up to $14 million to some iPhone users

A class action filed against Apple Inc. and Apple Canada Inc. accuses the tech giant of having performance mitigation features in its iOS software and defects in some iPhones.
A class action filed against Apple Inc. and Apple Canada Inc. accuses the tech giant of having performance mitigation features in its iOS software and defects in some iPhones. Photo by David Paul Morris/Bloomberg files

Canadians have until later today to opt out of a class-action lawsuit that could see Apple pay up to $14 million collectively to some iPhone users.

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The class action filed in 2018 against defendants Apple Inc. and Apple Canada Inc. accuses the tech giant of having performance mitigation features in its iOS software and defects in some iPhones.

In documents filed in a B.C. court, the plaintiffs claim the defects caused some phones to prematurely age, degrade or shut down unexpectedly and sparked performance issues in iPhone batteries.

They say Apple also misrepresented or intentionally concealed such issues.

As part of the proceedings, court documents say Apple has agreed to pay between $11.1 million and $14.4 million to settle the matter.

Should the settlement be approved at a hearing scheduled for the end of January, Canadians with some iPhone 6 and iPhone 7 models who installed iOS versions 10.2.1 or later or iOS 11.2 or later before Dec. 21, 2017 could be eligible for money.

The settlement will end their ability to sue Apple over the issues, but Canadians who want to hang onto their right to pursue legal action against the tech giant have until today at 5 p.m. PST to opt out of the class action.

An Apple Canada spokeswoman along with a lawyer for the plaintiffs pursuing the action did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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The Canadian Press

2:41 p.m.

Bombardier scores win with U.S. army after being shut out of Canada bid

An image of the Bombardier Global 6500 aircraft
Attendees pass an image of the Bombardier Global 6500 aircraft at the CANSEC trade show, billed as North America’s largest multi-service defence event, in Ottawa, May 31, 2023. Photo by Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

The U.S. army says Bombardier Inc. has won a contract to supply up to three Global 6500 business jets for conversion into a spy plane prototype.

The announcement comes barely a month after the Canadian government rejected Bombardier’s pitch for an open bid to replace the air force’s aging patrol planes, with the contract going to American rival Boeing Co. in a sole-source deal.

The Montreal-based jet maker has touted the Global 6500 as the basis for a fully-fledged surveillance aircraft it hopes to start rolling off the line in the early 2030s.

Bombardier’s agreement with the Pentagon includes one jet with options for two more, which would be installed with signals intelligence equipment, screen banks and other electronic systems under a new aerial reconnaissance program known as HADES.

Figures were not disclosed, but the nearly $75-million list price of a new Global 6500 means a three-plane purchase could top $224 million, with delivery of the first set for Oct. 1.

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In November, Defence Minister Bill Blair called Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon planes “the only choice” for Canada, given their submarine-hunting technology, ready availability and interoperability with NATO allies’ military gear.

The Canadian Press

12:38 p.m.

Midday markets: Inflation anticipation keeps Wall Street in tight range, TSX rises

stock chart

Stocks, bonds and the U.S. dollar saw small moves, with investors awaiting Thursday’s inflation data for clues on the United States Federal Reserve outlook.

The S&P 500 edged higher rising 0.26 per cent. U.S. 10-year yields hovered near four per cent. Bitcoin traded around US$45,000 before a Securities and Exchange Commission decision on the approval of exchange-traded funds holding the digital asset. Oil whipsawed as a surprise buildup in U.S. stockpiles undercut the threat to supplies from Red Sea escalations.

Inflation is expected to end the year around the Fed’s two per cent target, and the upcoming consumer price index will probably give a taste of the disinflation trend. Ahead of that, New York Fed president John Williams is due to speak.

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“We’re seeing a plausible path to inflation continuing to ease gradually, an end to Fed rate hikes, and a re-acceleration of economic growth in the back half of 2024,” said Arthur Hogan at B. Riley Wealth.

Strength in the technology stocks helped Canada’s main stock index move higher in early-afternoon trading. The S&P/TSX composite index was up 0.12 per cent at 20,998.13.

Bloomberg, The Canadian Press

11:47 a.m.

Fear of recession, inflation are top concerns for global CEOs

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Chief executives ranked their major concerns in a Conference Board survey for 2024. Photo by Getty Images

Fear of recession and inflation are the top external worries identified by global chief executives, says a survey out today by the Conference Board.

The C-Suite outlook for 2024 also found that almost a third of the chief executives surveyed said their company was not prepared to handle either of these threats.

Global political instability, higher borrowing costs and labour shortages also made the top five concerns — “all of which feed inflation and contribute to the higher costs of doing business.”

Higher borrowing costs have risen steadily in the ranking as a concern, jumping from 25th globally in 2022 to 10th in 2023 to fourth in this year’s survey.

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Chief executives ranked attracting and retaining talent and accelerating the pace of the digital transformation as their top two internal issues.

The survey of 1,247 executives was conducted between October to December 2023.

Financial Post staff

10:20 a.m.

U.S. takes over top spot as world’s biggest exporter of LNG

An LNG ship
A tug boat pulls out an LNG Tanker vessel at the Cheniere Sabine Pass Liquefaction facility in Cameron, Louisiana. Photo by Mark Felix/Bloomberg

The United States has become the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas for the first time, with 2023 shipments overtaking leading suppliers Australia and Qatar.

The U.S. exported 91.2 million metric tons of LNG in 2023, a record for the country, according to data through Dec. 31 compiled by Bloomberg. The expanded output was due to last year’s restart of Freeport LNG in Texas, which had been shuttered for months following a June 2022 fire and explosion. Qatar, the top LNG supplier in 2022, saw its volumes shrink, with a 1.9 per cent decline dropping the nation into third spot for shipments of the super-chilled fuel. Australia ranked second, with exports that were little changed from 2022.

This year, two new LNG projects in the U.S. are due to start production: Venture Global LNG Inc.’s Plaquemines facility in Louisiana and Golden Pass in Texas, a joint venture between ExxonMobil Corp. and QatarEnergy. At full capacity, the two projects would add another 38 million tons a year from the U.S.

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10:10 a.m.

Markets open: Wall Street waits for U.S. inflation numbers

Shoppers at a grocery store in Chicago.
Shoppers at a grocery store in Chicago. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Wall Street is drifting Wednesday ahead of a report that could help bolster or dash the hopes that sent stocks surging into the end of last year.

The S&P 500 was 0.12 per cent higher in early trading, a day after barely budging. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.07 per cent, as of 10:10 a.m. Eastern time, and the Nasdaq composite was 0.04 per cent higher.

The market’s focus is on Thursday, when the U.S. government will release its latest monthly update on inflation at the consumer level. A cool down there from its peak in the summer of 2022 has raised hopes that the United States Federal Reserve may cut interest rates sharply this year. That in turn has sent Treasury yields easing in the bond market and stock prices rallying toward record heights.

In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was up 0.05 per cent.

The Associated Press

7:30 a.m.

SEC’s X account was hacked, sparking spike in Bitcoin

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said its account on social network X was “compromised,” leading to a spike in the price of Bitcoin and raising fresh questions about X’s reliability as a source of information and the strength of its security practices.

The incident, one of the most consequential breaches in years on the platform formerly known as Twitter, began with a post on the SEC’s official verified account, which inaccurately shared that the regulator had approved spot-Bitcoin exchange-traded funds — a decision that had been anticipated for later this week. The price of Bitcoin quickly shot up more than 2.5 per cent as news of the post spread online and via media outlets, including Bloomberg News, that were watching the SEC’s feed for such an announcement.

Within minutes, SEC Chair Gary Gensler jumped in from his own X account to clarify that the SEC’s post was inaccurate, even while the message remained up on X for roughly 30 minutes. “The @SECGov twitter account was compromised, and an unauthorized tweet was posted,” Gensler wrote on X. Bitcoin’s price tumbled.

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A SEC spokesperson confirmed that there was “unauthorized access to and activity on the @SECGov account by an unknown party for a brief period of time.”

“The account is secure and we are investigating the root cause,” said Joe Benarroch, head of business operations at X, in a statement.

Still, the high-profile breach comes at a time when X and billionaire owner Elon Musk are seeking to win back trust from both users and advertisers, many of which have been dismayed by Musk’s free-for-all style of leadership since his 2022 takeover.

Read the full story: SEC’s X account was hacked, sparking spike in Bitcoin and raising questions about Elon’s Musk platform


Stock markets before the opening bell

Financial Post

Stocks are trading in a narrow range this morning as investors wait for tomorrow’s inflation report from the United States. Futures for the Nasdaq are up slightly but the S&P 500 is down.

The investor focus is on Thursday’s U.S. inflation figures as the market seeks clues on the timing of Federal Reserve interest-rate cuts.

Weakness in financial stocks Tuesday weighed on Canada’s main stock index, which lost more than 100 points at the close, while U.S. markets were mixed.

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Government bonds rose, with benchmark Treasury yields dipping back below 4 per cent for the first time in almost a week.

Bloomberg, Canadian Press

What to watch today

  • CES 2024 is underway in Las Vegas. The trade show that bills itself as the ‘most powerful tech event in the world’ attracts some 130,000 attendees and more than 4,000 exhibitors, displaying the latest advances in technology. BlackBerry Inc will streaming an interactive investor-focused Q&A session from the floor of the event.
  • Canadian Club Toronto and the National Post host their annual outlook luncheon. Top analysts and economists give their views on the economy, the markets and political issues that will affect Canadians in the year ahead.

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Need a refresher on yesterday’s top headlines? Get caught up here.

Additional reporting by The Canadian Press, Associated Press and Bloomberg

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